Pakistan Security Brief - August 5, 2013

Pakistan on red alert after al Qaeda, TTP communications intercepted on Saturday; DI Khan jailbreak reportedly masterminded by Adnan Rasheed, with al Qaeda influence; Interpol requests aid in tracking down escaped DI Khan prisoners; U.S. drone strikes kill at least 23 in month of July, report claims; Taliban peace talks may move from Doha to new location; U.S. threatens sanctions if Iran-Pakistan pipeline proceeds, says Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; President Asif Ali Zardari attends the swearing-in of President Hassan Rouhani; Indian drone violates Pakistani airspace; Alleged Pakistani militants attack Indian consulate in Jalalabad; TTP commander provides DI Khan jailbreak details; Police find explosive laden rickshaw in Quetta; TTP commander arrested in Nowshera, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; IED on train kills 3, wounds 20 in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab; APML leader believes former President Pervez Musharraf to be released soon; Security increase in Haripur, Peshawar jails; JUI-F chief calls PTI chief Imran Khan a “jewish agent”

Al Qaeda Threats

U.S. Drone Strikes

Afghan Peace Talks

  • According to a Sunday Express Tribune report, Pakistani officials say that the U.S. and Pakistan have proposed moving the Taliban office in Doha to a different country, in order to revive the stalled talks. The measures were reportedly discussed during Secretary of State John Kerry’s July 31 visit to Pakistan, and proposals for the movement have been made in secret to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.[4]

Iran-Pakistan Relations  

  • According to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement on Sunday, the United States  may impose sanctions on Pakistan, if it continues with a planned gas pipeline with Iran. On Friday, a Foreign Office spokesman reportedly submitted a “non-paper” to Secretary of State John Kerry, explaining Pakistan’s energy needs and the importance of the pipeline in ending Pakistan’s ongoing energy crisis. Due to the possibility of the sanctions, Pakistan Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday noted that Pakistan will continue plans for the pipeline, but will request that Iran pay for the entire $1 billion project. [5]

  •  President Asif Ali Zardari met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday in Tehran, after the newly-elected Rouhani was sworn in. The two discussed bilateral relations and expressed hope for continued economic cooperation, as well as improving the overall stability of the region.[6]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Reuters report released on Saturday, the August 3 militant attack on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan which killed nine people could foreshadow a regional proxy war between Pakistan and India, played out in Afghanistan. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the attack came from “beyond its [Afghanistan’s] borders.” With the drawdown of NATO forces in 2014, a void will form which could lead to Indian and Pakistani attempts stake positions in Afghanistan.[7]  

  • In an interview with members of the Pakistan Journalists Forum (PJF) on Saturday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif indicated that he hopes to enact defense budget cuts in concert with India, noting that, “we should focus on investing on social infrastructure for the benefit of our people.” In particular, Sharif expressed his hope for the success of the planned Gwadar economic corridor, which he noted would help all of Pakistan’s regional neighbors, as well as its own economic wellbeing.[8] 

  • An Indian drone entered Pakistani airspace for two minutes on Saturday near Chaprar, Kashmir, before crossing back into Indian airspace. Pakistan has recorded a complaint with Indian officials, according to Dawn.[9]

 Presidential Elections

  • In the aftermath of the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah has called for the resignation of the rest of the Election Commission in light of the altered date for the July 30 elections.[10] 

Dera Ismail Khan Prison Break

  • On Saturday in an interview with the Express Tribune, an anonymous Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander provided details of the July 29 Dera Ismail Khan prison break. According to the commander, the Taliban freed 47 militants in the raid, using 125 fighters in the assaults. The fighters benefitted from having night vision goggles, as well as reserve forces ready to counter-attack.[11]

  • In the aftermath of the July 29 Dera Ismail Khan prison break, security was increased at the Peshawar and Haripur prisons on Saturday, as Frontier Corps personnel have been deployed to Haripur Central Prison and other members of the police's Elite Force have been sent to Peshawar Central Prison.[12] 

  • On Friday evening, police recovered the body of a suspected militant along with several rocket shells, hand grenades and assorted small arms in a van near Dera Ismail Khan. Police believe the militant’s body, along with the equipment, was left behind following the July 29 Dera Ismail Khan prison break.[13]  

  • On Monday in Lahore, police officials carried out a search operation in the Koth Lakhpat jail. The search occurred as a result of reports that militants in the Dera Ismail Khan jail break had concealed cell phones, which aided them in their escape.[14]

Militancy

Domestic   

  • According to All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leader Zahid Sarfaraz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the release of Dr Shakil Afridi and former President Pervez Musharraf during Kerry’s visit to Pakistan last week. According to Sarfaraz, both men will eventually be released as “the US [has] never left its supporters in trouble.” Sarfaraz also claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not have the “courage” to convict Musharraf.[32]  

  • After Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief a “Jewish agent,” Khan announced in a press conference on Sunday that he plans to take Rehman to court over the allegations. Rehman claims that Khan maintains close ties with the “Israeli lobby.” Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak condemned Rehman’s allegations, stating that “Imran Khan is working hard to restore peace in the region and to end foreign influence.” [33]

  • In a press conference on Monday, new Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarawar noted that his first priority in office will be to increase investment in the region, which has declined because of terrorism, and improve the education system of the province.[34] 

  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah will reportedly meet after Eid-ul-Fitr to discuss changes in the Election Commission of Pakistan, whose Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim resigned last week.[35]  

Saudi-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz in Mecca. The two reportedly discussed bilateral ties.[36]    

 

[1]Waqas Naeem, “Not taking chances: Commandos on Margallas as capital put on high alert,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586533/not-taking-chances-commandos-on-margallas-as-capital-put-on-high-alert/  
Saima Mohsin, “Officials: Pakistan on alert for possible attack,” CNN, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/04/world/asia/pakistan-alert
“Police, air force, navy commandos deployed in Margalla Hills,” Dawn, August 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034049/police-air-force-navy-commandos-deployed-in-margalla-hills 
“Islamabad under thick security blanket after terror threats,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112391-Islamabad-on-red-alert-after-intelligence-warns-of-attack-on-PAF-HQ 
“Terror threat: 30 security teams deployed across Islamabad,” Express Tribune, August 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586394/terror-threat-30-security-teams-deployed-across-islamabad/ 
“Security beefed up,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-5-194223-Security-beefed-up
[2] “Adnan Rasheed planned Bannu, DIK attacks: Sethi,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194403-Adnan-Rasheed-planned-Bannu,-DIK-attacks%3a-Sethi 
“Al Qaeda behind jailbreak in Pakistan, eight other countries: Interpol,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24584-Al-Qaeda-behind-jailbreak-in-Pakistan,eight-other-countries 
“Interpol asks nations to help track terror suspects freed in prison breaks,” New York Times, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/world/interpol-issues-alert-on-prison-breaks-in-9-nations.html?ref=asia
[3] “July saw most drone kills in past 12 months: Report,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585688/july-racked-up-most-kills-for-drones-in-past-12-months/ 
Mark Mazzetti, Mark Landler, “Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars,” New York Times, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/us/politics/drone-war-rages-on-even-as-administration-talks-about-ending-it.html
[4]Kamran Yousaf, “Peace in Afghanistan: Islamabad, Washington seek alternative to Doha process,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586624/peace-in-afghanistan-islamabad-washington-seek-alternatives-to-doha-process/
[5]“IP project: US threatens curbs if Pakistan pursues Iran deal, says PM,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586623/ip-project-in-jeopardy-us-threatens-curbs-if-pakistan-pursues-iran-deal-says-pm/  
Zafar Bhutta, “Gas pipeline: Pakistan wants Iran to finance project in full,” Express Tribune, August 3, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585732/foreign-office-to-assess-impact-of-us-sanctions-on-the-project/
[6] “Pakistan, Iran to work on stability, development of region,” Express Tribune, August 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586369/pakistan-iran-to-work-on-stability-development-of-region/ 
“Pakistan, Iran need to work for stability, peace: Zardari,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24600-Pakistan,-Iran-need-to-work-for-stability,-peace%3a-Zardari
[7]Rafiq Shirzad, “Attack on Indian mission in Afghanistan raises specter of regional struggle,” Yahoo, August 3, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/suspected-suicide-bombing-near-indian-consulate-eastern-afghanistan-062337631.html
[8]"Pakistan, India may cut defence budgets like US, Russia: Nawaz,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24598-Pakistan,-India-may-cut-defence-budgets-like-US,-Russia%3a-Nawaz
[9]“Indian spy plane violates airspace,” Dawn, August 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1033874/indian-spy-plane-violates-airspace
[10]Amir Wasim, “Shah urges all ECP members to resign,” Dawn, August 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034168/shah-urges-all-ecp-members-to-resign
[11]Tahir Khan, “Pakistan Taliban commander uncovers DI Khan jail assault plan,” Express Tribune, August 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586235/pakistan-taliban-commander-uncovers-di-khan-jail-assault-plan/
[12]“Security tightened at Peshawar, Haripur prisons,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194048-Security-tightened-at-Peshawar,-Haripur-prisons
[13]“Bomber’s body found in DI Khan,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194054-Bombers-body-found-in-DI-Khan
[14] “Joint interrogation team carries out search operation at Lahore jail,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586839/joint-interrogation-team-carries-out-search-operation-at-lahore-jail/
[15] Mushtaq Parachi, “TTP commander among 10 held in Nowshera area,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194244-TTP-commander-among-10-held-in-Nowshera-area
[16]“Explosion on Shalimar Express near Toba Tek Singh,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586714/explosion-on-shalimar-express-20-injured/ 
“14 injured in Shalimar Express explosion,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112463-Explosion-on-Shalimar-Express%3a-14-injured-
[17] “Policeman killed,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-194381-Policeman-killed
[18]“Businessman receive ransom note from Taliban,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-194029-Businessman-receive-ransom-note-from-Taliban
[19]“Policeman killed,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-194381-Policeman-killed 
[20]“Four militants injured in Darra blast,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194412-Four-militants-injured-in-Darra-blast
[21] Riaz Ahmad, “Targeted attack: Frontier Corps official gunned down,” Express Tribune, August 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586119/targeted-attack-frontier-corps-official-gunned-down/
[22]"Grenade hurled at ANP leader’s Hujra,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194080-Grenade-hurled-at-ANP-leaders-Hujra
[23]“Peshawar bus terminal firing injures two,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112323-Two-injured-in-firing-near-Peshawar-bus-terminal
[24]“Motorcyclists trade fire with FC men,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194399-Motorcyclists-trade-fire-with-FC-men
[25] “Karachi firing, violent incidents claim two more lives,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112344-Two-more-killed-in-Karachi-firing,-violent-incidents
[26]“Five policemen shot dead in Karachi,” Express Tribune, August 3, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585925/five-policemen-shot-dead-in-karachi/  
“Three cops killed in Karachi attack,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24572-Three-cops-killed-in-Karachi-attack
“Two cops killed,” The News, August 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-193985-Two-cops-killed  
“Five more cops fall in the line of duty,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24580-Five-more-cops-fall-in-line-of-duty
[27]Houses of three killers torched,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194278-Houses-of-three-killers-torched
[28]“School blown up in Bajaur Agency,” The News, August 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-194251-School-blown-up-in-Bajaur-Agency
[29]“Terror bid foiled in Quetta; police seize explosive-laden rickshaw,” Dawn, August 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034253/terror-bid-foiled-in-quetta-police-seizes-explosive-laden-rickshaw
[30]“Militants torch container, blast injures two in Chaman,” Dawn, August 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1033638/militants-torch-container-blast-injures-two-in-chaman
[31]“Four power transmission lines destroyed in Balochistan attack,” Dawn, August 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034226/four-power-transmission-lines-destroyed-in-balochistan-attack
[32]“Musharraf to be released soon, claims APML,” Dawn, August 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034116/musharraf-to-be-released-soon-claims-apml
[33]“Grievous allegation: Imran to Fazl for calling him ‘Jewish agent,’” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586567/grievous-allegation-imran-to-sue-fazl-for-calling-him-jewish-agent/
 “Fazlur Rehman not letting PTI negotiate with Taliban: Pervez Khattak,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586778/fazlur-rehman-not-letting-pti-negotiate-with-taliban-pervez-khattak/
[34]“New Punjab Governor aims to improve education, investments,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586658/new-punjab-governor-aims-to-improve-education-investments/
[35]“PM, Opposition Leader to hold key meeting after EID,” The News, August 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112496-PM,-Opposition-Leader-to-hold-key-meeting-after-EID-
[36] “PM, crown prince discuss bilateral ties,” Dawn, August 3, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1033832/pm-saudi-crown-prince-discuss-bilateral-ties